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According to Premium Sport, Arsenal have made an approach to sign £17m-rated Juventus centre-back Medhi Benatia as Unai Emery continues to overhaul his defence this summer.
Our new boss has already signed right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus and goalkeeper Bernd Leno has been snapped-up from Bayer Leverkusen but Emery knows he needs to make further changes if we’re to compete for the top four next season.
Per Mertesacker has retired, Laurent Koscielny is facing months out following Achilles surgery, Shkodran Mustafi has been a huge disappointment since arriving from Valencia and Calum Chambers is being linked with a move.
Therefore, we could be in the market for two centre-backs and we’re reportedly close to signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund while Freiburg youngster Caglar Soyuncu has also been linked.
However, Benatia has emerged as another possible target in recent weeks with the Metro carrying a report last week that claimed Arsenal were ready to trigger his £17m release clause this summer.
It seems we have now stepped-up our interest as Premium Sport claim today that Arsenal have now made an approach to Juventus to discuss a deal to sign Benatia but we could face competition from Dortmund – who coincidentally have identified the Moroccan as a replacement for Arsenal-bound Sokratis.
However, it doesn’t sound like Benatia is in a rush to leave Turin any time soon as he says he’ll hold talks with Juve chiefs to discuss his future but insists he’s happy at the Serie A champions.
Benatia is quoted as saying by Premium Sport:
‘I’ve always said the same thing: I’m very happy with Juve, I’ve been part of this group for 2 years. I really feel at home in Turin and I have 2 years on my contract. I’ll talk to the club to find out what they want to do but when you’re at this club you can only be happy.’
The 31-year-old has been representing Morocco at the World Cup but they will be home soon after being knocked out at the group stages so Benatia should figure out his future over the coming weeks.
Personally, I don’t see any need to sign Benatia and Sokratis as they are both the wrong side of 30 and would have little sell-on value. I’d like to see us sign one of the experienced duo and then bring in a younger player who we could build the back four around in the long-term.